Children’s Bureau Foundation Receives $10 million Grant

by Andra Martinez

The Children’s Bureau Foundation has received a grant of $10 million under Lilly Endowment Inc.’s latest round of financial sustainability grants to central Indiana human services agencies.

This grant is one of 10 grants totaling $80 million that are designed to help agencies that serve persons with disabilities and vulnerable children and youth enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures. Lilly Endowment believes that the programs and services these agencies provide help central Indiana be a more caring community.

The majority of the grant will be placed in the agency’s existing endowment. A modest portion will be used to address some of the initiatives outlined in Children’s Bureau Inc.’s five year strategic plan.

The mission of Children’s Bureau is to preserve families and protect the future of Indiana’s children. The agency works closely with state government to provide services when abuse or neglect occurs and it relies on support from the private sector to provide services outside of the role of government. “All of our partnerships are equally important. In the end, all of us strive to protect children when their circumstances threaten their safety,” Tina Cloer, President and CEO said.

Children’s Bureau has experienced tremendous growth over the past five years. “This gift will help to create a stronger position in case we are forced to weather any unforeseen storms,” Cloer added.

This financial sustainability grant and the grants to the nine other agencies complement Lilly Endowment’s regular support of human services organizations through direct grants and grants to the United Way of Central Indiana. According to Lilly Endowment, these agencies are undercapitalized for the level of assistance they provide. Many of them rely on public sector support, and all of them look to philanthropy to help fund their efforts. They have a history of stretching every dollar at their disposal.

“The staff and leadership of these agencies work every day to help children, adults and families who are among the most vulnerable residents in central Indiana,” said Ace Yakey, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “These grants don’t take the place of ongoing support for day-to-day operations. Instead, the funds will help the agencies build financial infrastructures that will position them better to weather financial challenges and serve more people more effectively.”

This grant was approved under the third round of grants Lilly Endowment has made since 2015 to support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable organizations based in central Indiana. In 2015, the Endowment made grants to 14 arts and cultural organizations totaling $100 million. In 2016, the Endowment made grants totaling $100 million to support the long-term sustainability plans of 15 human services organizations that are primarily focused on providing services in low-income neighborhoods in Indianapolis.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private family foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr., and his sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While these gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Children’s Bureau, Inc. is a private nonprofit founded as the Widows and Orphans Friends’ Society in pre-Civil War Indianapolis. The agency has continuously adapted to meet the changing needs of society and now offers an array of human services to Indiana children and families. In 2016, Children’s Bureau served more than 47,000 children from 22,000 unique families. For more information about Children’s Bureau, visit